Planning to spend the Christmas holidays in New York? Lucky you! From uptown to downtown, the Big Apple boasts incredible holiday offerings, like the annual Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lightning, iconic window displays on Fifth Avenue and unique holiday markets. If you're looking for more amazing things to do in New York throughout the holiday season, you've come to the right place. Ahead, we've compiled NYC's best Christmas activities you shouldn't miss out on.
Experience the NYBG Glow
The largest outdoor holiday color-and-light experience is back again this season! For the third time in a row, The New York Botanical Garden welcomes locals and tourists to discover the magical beauty of the Garden's landmark landscapes and historic buildings after dark. Up through January 14th (on select evenings), NYBG will display thousands of energy-efficient lights choreographed to sound. An ideal backdrop for a memorable shot! The program will also include dance performances, ice carving demonstrations, and other seasonal activities.
Hop aboard a Holiday Cruise
Make December truly unforgettable by cruising on a 1920s-style yacht decked out in holiday decor. The Classic Harbor Line offers a variety of Christmas-themed rides throughout the holiday season. Cocoa & Carols Cruise, New York City Lights Cruise, Sunset & Holiday Cruise, Jazz Cruise — choose the one that sounds fun to you and enjoy the one-of-a-kind experience. Expect stunning views of the iconic Manhattan skyline, live band performances, delicious snacks and hot drinks. You can also book a private charter and customize your own small Christmas party!
Enjoy seasonal art at The Met
The Metropolitan Museum of Art continues a tradition with the presentation of its Christmas tree. The installation went up the day before Thanksgiving and will be on view through January 8th. The magnificently lit, twenty-foot blue Christmas tree is set in the museum's Medieval Sculpture Hall. The spruce is adorned with cute cherubs, silk-robed angels and other additional figures that evoke 18th-century Naples Nativity scenes. Once you are done admiring the seasonal installation, check out The Met’s store for art-inspired holiday gifts and souvenirs!
Visit the Bank of America Winter Village
Bank of America Winter Village is Manhattan's winter wonderland! Every year it houses different custom-designed holiday kiosks that sell handmade crafts, Christmas ornaments, souvenirs, baked goodies, and drinks. Through January 2nd, you will be able to enjoy the offerings of over a hundred artisans from NYC and around the world. But that’s not all! The crown jewel of the Village is its 17,000-foot ice skating rink, which is open daily throughout the Winter Village season. Not in the mood for skating? You can just cozy up with festive cocktails and snacks at The Lodge.
Attend a Christmas Service
Whether you are religious or not, attending a Christmas-themed service will definitely get you feeling festive. New York is home to dozens of churches and cathedrals, like Neo-Gothic St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. Both of these places of worship are incredibly beautiful and worth visiting even once in a lifetime. Unlike some other churches, St. Patrick's has resumed its pre-pandemic schedule and is open to everyone. The cathedral will perform a Christmas mass on the 24th and 25th of December as well as on New Year’s Eve. Keep in mind that tickets might be required!